Danny Latza: We wanted to stop at nothing to get the victory
After promotion rivals Darmstadt fell to a shock defeat to Fortuna Düsseldorf on the Friday night, Schalke had the chance to seal promotion against St. Pauli at the VELTINS-Arena just 24 hours later. What unfolded against The Kiezkicker, however, was a total rollercoaster ride with a happy ending for skipper Danny Latza and his teammates.
The 32-year-old, who was born and bred in Gelsenkirchen, knows more than anyone how much Schalke 04 means to the people of the city. Despite the enormous pressure on the team ahead of the game, the midfielder travelled to the stadium with a great sense of anticipation on Saturday evening. “We came here knowing what was going to happen in and around the stadium,” he said. “We wanted to stop at nothing to get the victory for the fans, for the club and for ourselves. And that’s exactly what we did.”
We came here knowing what was going to happen in and around the stadium
However, when the referee blew for half time, the three points looked unobtainable. The visitors had fired themselves into a two goal lead despite Schalke’s strong start to the contest. “We had played really well and we couldn’t really understand how we were 2-0 down,” said the captain. “At half time, we all agreed that were in fine enough fettle to get three goals. The penalty shortly after the break obviously helped us and we went from strength to strength after that.”
Celebrating into the early hours
The celebrations after the final whistle and the joy amongst all involved, is something that Latza had dreamt of for weeks. He made it clear in his speech after the game that the players should enjoy their success: “Let the party begin! We’ll go into the early hours, we won’t let it end!” The celebrations continued into the early hours of Sunday morning.
However, it wasn’t all rosy for Latza on that famous evening. He was shown his fifth yellow card of the season just before half time and will be suspended for the game against Nürnberg. However, he will support his teammates from the sidelines and have his fingers crossed that Schalke can secure the 2. Bundesliga title on the final day of the season.